J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Sketches from the Simplon Pass Road, Including the Chapel at Gabi 1819

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 1 Recto:
Sketches from the Simplon Pass Road, Including the Chapel at Gabi 1819
D16890
Turner Bequest CXCIV 1
Pencil on white wove paper, 121 x 195 mm
Inscribed by the artist in pencil ‘[?Diligence]’ top left, ‘Fir destroy by an Avalanche’ top right, and ‘G[...] of [...]’ centre right-hand edge
Stamped in black ‘CXCIV 1’ bottom left, descending left-hand edge
 
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner has divided this page into five or six individual sketches featuring views from the road through the Simplon Pass (see the sketchbook introduction). Many are too faint or schematic to be conclusively identified. However, the study of the small building and bridge near the top left-hand corner of the sheet represents the chapel of the Virgin Mary at Gabi (present-day Gabi/Gstein), a small village at the western end of the narrow Gondo Gorge (Gondoschlucht).
The artist has annotated the sketch in the top right-hand corner with the notes ‘Fir destroy[ed] by an Avalanche’. The details are reminiscent of his earlier dramatic oil painting, The Fall of an Avalanche in the Grisons exhibited 1810 (Tate, N00489).1

Nicola Moorby
April 2010

1
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, no.109.

How to cite

Nicola Moorby, ‘Sketches from the Simplon Pass Road, Including the Chapel at Gabi 1819 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, April 2010, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, December 2012, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-sketches-from-the-simplon-pass-road-including-the-chapel-at-r1132765, accessed 16 January 2022.